City ponders filming changes

Some say rules are too restrictive, others want more rules imposed.

November 06, 2013|By Tiffany Kelly,
  • Film production crews come and go at 4159 Commonwealth Ave., in La Cañada Flintridge on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 20913.
Film production crews come and go at 4159 Commonwealth… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

As the city prepares to update its film ordinance, neighborhood groups have formed to push their respective views of the regulations.

Some say the ordinance, which was last updated in 1995, is too restrictive, while others seek to protect their neighborhoods from excessive filming. The city will host a public workshop on Nov. 21 to gain more feedback from residents. Residents from both sides of the issue and members of the film industry are expected to attend.

Residents on Commonwealth Avenue, south of Berkshire Avenue, called for officials to take a deeper look at the ordinance when a Warner Bros. production of the film “Jersey Boys” set up in their neighborhood in September. They said the neighborhood had seen several productions in the past year and some complained that they did not receive proper notice.

Residents formed a group, called La Cañada Neighbors for Fair Filming, and asked the city for a moratorium on filming until the City Council looked the revising the current film ordinance.


City Manager Mark Alexander agreed instead to enact rules that would immediately address residents’ main concerns.

Any production that involves 20 people or more will now be required to get the green light from at least 60% of the residents in a 500-feet area around the subject property. The provision only applies to the section of Commonwealth Avenue, where one large estate has pulled four film permits in 13 months.

Lawyer William Stoner, who is representing the Commonwealth residents, said the group was pleased with Alexander’s decision. But the group was not happy with recently proposed changes to the film ordinance, he said. They would like to see more restrictions, including banning filming on Saturdays and giving 10 days of notice to residents.

“Some of the changes are moving in the wrong direction,” said Stoner.

A proposed film ordinance was brought before the city’s Public Safety Commission last week. Officials decided to continue the discussion at a public workshop, which is slated to be held either at City Hall or Descanso Gardens at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21. The ordinance is expected to come before the City Council in December or January.

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